The Egyptian evening at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) on Saturday was a resounding success. This was the first Egypt-Pakistan Cultural night in Islamabad in 10 years.
The evening featured performances by the Al Tannoura Troupe, an Egyptian folk troupe. The night began with a musical performance by Pakistani musicians. Then came the 15 Al Tannoura performers armed with flutes, tambourines and a mix of other instruments. They opened their performance with a spectacular musical composition.
This was followed by a traditional Egyptian dance during which a folk singer recited religious verses (Inshad Deni) and songs in praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
The senior dancer, known as the Lafife and the junior dancers, the Hanatia, all danced to the rhythmic beat of the tambourines. These dancers, not professionally trained, have inherited this art from their forefathers.
Hasan Suleman, a 31 year old Lafife, said: “While spinning and hearing the recitation in the background, I was asking for forgiveness from Allah.”
Suleman has been dancing since he was 16 years old. He added: “I practice everyday for 2 hours, and the 25 years of practice has helped me spin in circles for hours at a time without feeling dizzy.”
The crowd gave the performers a standing ovation after their performance concluded.
“I am a regular visitor at PNCA and this was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen,” said Mr Iqbal.
Another visitor, Nauman said: “The background recitation with the spinning was really soothing.”
The Ambassador of Egypt, Magdy Amer, said: “There was an absence of exchange programs with the PNCA. [But now] we plan to bring more troupes [to Pakistan] in the future; maybe twice or thrice a year.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2010.
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